Preparing for High Heating Costs

by Paul Cutting, Energy Planner High energy bills are expected this year. (Read this article for an analysis of why.) What can you do to get ready? First of all, go after all the low hanging fruit like air sealing and making sure your furnace is in good working order.   Generally speaking, the biggest sources of air intrusion/extrusion through a house are the basement and attic. In the basement, make

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EV Tourism in Northeast Iowa, an opportunity for Rural Iowa to get on the Map

by Josh Dansdill, RC&D Business Development Project Director I was recently asked, what did you learn upon completing an EV Tourism Study for Northeast Iowa? The first word that came to my mind was, opportunity. An opportunity for Northeast Iowa to claim itself as an EV-friendly vacation destination. It seems that many communities and regions have yet to connect to the electric vehicle market especially in the Midwest. With Northeast

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Expect High Home Heating Costs This Winter

by Paul Cutting, Energy Planner Get ready, it may cost a lot more to heat your home this winter. The convergence of a multitude of factors, including the war in Ukraine, a summer of unprecedented heat and electricity demand, diminished seasonal natural gas reserves, record exports of liquified natural gas, impending price caps on Russian energy, and continued fallout from the February 2021 Texas energy meltdown are all aligning to

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The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022: An Iowa Perspective

By Andy Johnson, Executive Director The Inflation Reduction Act, aka the Schumer-Manchin climate deal, is historic – for a clean energy transition, rural prosperity, climate stewardship, economic and environmental justice, and for future generations. For great coverage of the entire bill, see Canary Media, the Bipartisan Policy Center, Rewiring America, and elsewhere. Even better, we encourage clean energy afficionados to listen to these three recent episodes of the podcast Volts:

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Celebrating the Old and the New: Sustainability at Vesterheim

Maddi MacDonald, Green Iowa Americorps It was a great pleasure to welcome Chris Johnson, President/CEO of Vesterheim, on 06.21.22 to speak about the Vesterheim expansion and energy projects. Vesterheim is the National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School here in the heart of Decorah, with a history dating back to 1877. Starting as a small collection on Luther’s campus, Vesterheim has grown to be a pinnacle point for this community.

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Why Drive Electric Vehicles?

Zachary Fromm, Board Member, Winneshiek Energy District What is the range of electric vehicles compared to vehicles with conventional internal combustion engines? The range of Electric Vehicles (EVs) is difficult to measure because you are not dealing with gallons of gasoline; you are dealing with kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. The question is the same, however: How far can I drive on a full tank of … electrons vs. gasoline?

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Utilities Board Declines To Hear Decorah Complaint

Andy Johnson, Executive Director The Iowa Utilities Board has declined to hear Decorah’s complaint requesting utility data from Alliant, despite their own staff and the Office of Consumer Advocate recommending they do so. The data was requested by the Municipal Electric Utility Task Force in order to update or conduct a new feasibility study, as charged by the city council. The Utilities Board determined they simply did not have legal

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More Grid Troubles Driven By Coal and Gas Plant Outages

Andy Johnson, Executive Director We wrote last month about the looming potential for brownouts in the Midwest (the story was picked up by Bleeding Heartland). Our analysis showed that the potential power shortfall in a worst-case summer scenario appeared to be driven more by growing fossil fuel plant failures as by intentional coal plant closures or the variability of growing renewable energy. In fact, we suggested, Iowa regulators and utilities should be working

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A Cleaner Grid is a More Reliable and Resilient Grid

Andy Johnson, Executive Director The June 2nd print edition of the Des Moines Register led with the headline “Iowans warned of rolling blackouts”, and utility sources proceeded to make repeated connections between the growth of renewable energy and a less reliable grid. As Mark Twain said: “Few things are more irritating than when someone who is wrong is also very effective in making his point.” Sure, it sounds sensible that

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Cleaner Energy = More Stable Prices and Lower Inflation

With energy costs high and rising, fossil fuel execs and some politicians and pundits are claiming we need more domestic oil, coal, and natural gas in order to tame energy cost inflation. This is about as true as Brer Rabbit not wanting to get thrown into the briar patch. In reality, it is the volatile and global nature of fossil fuels that lead to inflation, community wealth extraction, and even

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